Plasma Rifle is a little bit too strong with concentrate fire and make combat little.... too fast?

14 posts / 0 new
Last post
Benny89 Benny89's picture
Plasma Rifle is a little bit too strong with concentrate fire and make combat little.... too fast?

Like when player with high Beam has Plasma Rifle (easy to just get bluepring for whole life). -8 AP 6d10 +40 dmg when using concentrate fire (which doubles DV) means on average -8 80 dmg + anything from MOS (+5 DV or +10 DV). Many times hitting 90 dmg mark. Plus 2d10 dmg over time if MOS 30+.... which is kind of useless as if something has not enough Energy armor to resist 2d10 burn damage then it will be one-shotted by Concentrate Fire anyway...

Or if we opt that "Doubles the DV of first attack" is (3d10+20)x2 it can be even more broken as it doesn't add another 3 d10 rolls but simple doubles first 3 rolls, which removes additional "probability" of small rolls. However we take that (3d10+20 x 2 or 6d10 + 40) the max potential damage is 100! Without AP, Moxie and dmg over time...

Now if you have 4x arms and 3x Ambidex you can have 2 such bad babies at once... Even Fenrir will become a pile of Ash.... Not to mention having 4 of those on weapon mounts.... huh...

And what if we use Aimed Shot mechanic and ignore enemy armor? You can kill anything.

Now if player has it- he basicelly deletes one enemy per 1 Speed unless somehow enemy get Freay with higher MOS that he with his Beam which is probably high anyway if he is combat monster (80 at least without Smart Link, Specialization and Quick Aim bonus included...).

If enemies have it- they can basicelly delete non armor-min-maxed characters in one shot too.

I know it was suppose to be "most powerful man-portable weapon" but it's stronger than direct hit from standard sized HEAP missle in face....

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Working as intended.

The plasma rifle is a piece of man-portable artillery, suitable for taking down heavy armour.
It's the gun you give your player when you want combat to not be an issue, or the gun you give the NPC you want them to run away from.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

Benny89 Benny89's picture
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:The

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
The plasma rifle is a piece of man-portable artillery, suitable for taking down heavy armour.
It's the gun you give your player when you want combat to not be an issue, or the gun you give the NPC you want them to run away from.

Not quite. One player simply bought himself Plasma Rifle blueprint at character creation for example. There are no restrictions in book regarding starting gear. He didn't buy any other above [Low] gear as another team member was Hardware/Programming specialist so team got blueprints of many things really fast. Party hacker can hack any restricted fabber anyway or find illegal copies in mesh (especially on Anarchists servers as mentioned in book).

If we add do that Favour/Rep system when with rep 80 (easy to start with) and succsess on Network test (take your time + team bonuses) you can easly get your hands at something like that, if level 5 favour states you can move asteroid or even request mass murder, then getting hands on some standard, though strong, weapon or bluepring for it is not an issue). Sure I can say- you need MOS or you have -30 but with stacking bonuses, reroll option and Moxie- it won't stop player in 90% of cases from successful roll especially with high networking.

EP is a system which really gives clever players a lot of ways to obtain super strong equippment without that much hassle.

Of coruse I could just say "no, you can't do it becasue reasons" but I am against such behavious as player use what system wanted them to use by design. It's part of fun in EP- possibilities.

Benny89 Benny89's picture
Benny89 wrote

Double post

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
Benny89 wrote:

Benny89 wrote:

Not quite. One player simply bought himself Plasma Rifle blueprint at character creation for example. There are no restrictions in book regarding starting gear. He didn't buy any other above [Low] gear as another team member was Hardware/Programming specialist so team got blueprints of many things really fast. Party hacker can hack any restricted fabber anyway or find illegal copies in mesh (especially on Anarchists servers as mentioned in book).

So they can make a forbidden weapon... Step 1: decide if it needs exotic matter (it probably does), so part of the adventure is to get the right feedstock.
Step 2: the rifle is conspicuous, so they need a disguise to carry it around without the "police" having something to say (I would assume that forbidden stuff is logged in all kind of smart programs to be looked for every now and then... that includes energy emissions, image recognition, feedstock usage...).
Step 3: they can use it ONCE. After that, everyone will know some stupid dudes are going around with a plasma rifle (forbidden by local law), so they need to clean their tracks, ditch the weapon, and look inconspicuous...

Being able to make it doesn't mean you can always make it, or that you should.

Benny89 wrote:

If we add do that Favour/Rep system when with rep 80 (easy to start with) and succsess on Network test (take your time + team bonuses) you can easly get your hands at something like that, if level 5 favour states you can move asteroid or even request mass murder, then getting hands on some standard, though strong, weapon or bluepring for it is not an issue). Sure I can say- you need MOS or you have -30 but with stacking bonuses, reroll option and Moxie- it won't stop player in 90% of cases from successful roll especially with high networking.

That leaves too much traces... consider that identity to get rep-burned a lot if the providers of the stuff care about what it was used for (and I mean not only primary targets, but collateral damages). Again, it's a nice toy... with a big cost attached.

Benny89 wrote:

EP is a system which really gives clever players a lot of ways to obtain super strong equippment without that much hassle.

Of coruse I could just say "no, you can't do it becasue reasons" but I am against such behavious as player use what system wanted them to use by design. It's part of fun in EP- possibilities.

Or you can go the Cyberpunk 2020 way. They can do it... and suffer the consequences. Firewall is a low-key organization, for heavy engagements they have cleaners... and those expect that their most basic gear includes several overkilling weapons like the plasma rifle.
So if they manage so good against enemies and have the firepower... maybe they are sent for bigger fish (because there are never enough personnel), maybe they exaust their rep scores and resources value, maybe they decline because what really made them "strong" was gear... in a game where the most important thing is data and skills.

There is a reason Eve Online's most successful players have so many spreadsheets they balance what they can win against what they can lose, and so few even try to get big ships out of the docks (hint: ginormously huge investments that other players will try to slag to scavenge using a death of a thousand cuts approach with disposable smaller ships).

Benny89 Benny89's picture
Xagroth wrote:Benny89 wrote:

Xagroth wrote:
Benny89 wrote:

Not quite. One player simply bought himself Plasma Rifle blueprint at character creation for example. There are no restrictions in book regarding starting gear. He didn't buy any other above [Low] gear as another team member was Hardware/Programming specialist so team got blueprints of many things really fast. Party hacker can hack any restricted fabber anyway or find illegal copies in mesh (especially on Anarchists servers as mentioned in book).

So they can make a forbidden weapon... Step 1: decide if it needs exotic matter (it probably does), so part of the adventure is to get the right feedstock.
Step 2: the rifle is conspicuous, so they need a disguise to carry it around without the "police" having something to say (I would assume that forbidden stuff is logged in all kind of smart programs to be looked for every now and then... that includes energy emissions, image recognition, feedstock usage...).
Step 3: they can use it ONCE. After that, everyone will know some stupid dudes are going around with a plasma rifle (forbidden by local law), so they need to clean their tracks, ditch the weapon, and look inconspicuous...

Being able to make it doesn't mean you can always make it, or that you should.

Benny89 wrote:

If we add do that Favour/Rep system when with rep 80 (easy to start with) and succsess on Network test (take your time + team bonuses) you can easly get your hands at something like that, if level 5 favour states you can move asteroid or even request mass murder, then getting hands on some standard, though strong, weapon or bluepring for it is not an issue). Sure I can say- you need MOS or you have -30 but with stacking bonuses, reroll option and Moxie- it won't stop player in 90% of cases from successful roll especially with high networking.

That leaves too much traces... consider that identity to get rep-burned a lot if the providers of the stuff care about what it was used for (and I mean not only primary targets, but collateral damages). Again, it's a nice toy... with a big cost attached.

Benny89 wrote:

EP is a system which really gives clever players a lot of ways to obtain super strong equippment without that much hassle.

Of coruse I could just say "no, you can't do it becasue reasons" but I am against such behavious as player use what system wanted them to use by design. It's part of fun in EP- possibilities.

Or you can go the Cyberpunk 2020 way. They can do it... and suffer the consequences. Firewall is a low-key organization, for heavy engagements they have cleaners... and those expect that their most basic gear includes several overkilling weapons like the plasma rifle.
So if they manage so good against enemies and have the firepower... maybe they are sent for bigger fish (because there are never enough personnel), maybe they exaust their rep scores and resources value, maybe they decline because what really made them "strong" was gear... in a game where the most important thing is data and skills.

There is a reason Eve Online's most successful players have so many spreadsheets they balance what they can win against what they can lose, and so few even try to get big ships out of the docks (hint: ginormously huge investments that other players will try to slag to scavenge using a death of a thousand cuts approach with disposable smaller ships).

Well, it's not like this player is running around with Plasma Rifle in populated habitats. First time he crafted it outside of Mars cities (Firewall provided unrestricted Fabber) when they were sent to X-Zone (Million Years Echo) and he took out couple of waste walkers and headhunters with it. Extraction was provided after that by Firewall and since then Plasma Rifle is sitting in his place in Mars. On any sort of ops inside populated and big habitats he does not carry it, but if they egocast to some smaller habitat or on lets say "dangerous zone" he crafts it in first Fabber found and keep it under his Chameleon Cloak all the time. On Smaller habitats team hacker just hacks the local system and Plasma Rifle appears as Stunner to the system or party gets fake IDs as Security Officers/Police/Local Mercs etc.

Also corebook does not mention that Plasma Rifle needs some exotic materials for it. It's powerful, but it's not some super high tech. Simillar to Reaper morph- strongest combat morph, but easy to made as it's just a synthmorph, little more complicated I think only because of Smart Materials and Reflex Booster included.

He only takes Plasma Rifle to action really if it's a final operation on session and you require "military" action or they know they may encounter some real danger (Exhumans, Titans etc.).

Party plays smart and they use the system mechanic to maximum. Especially hacker knows how to mask party and give them digital protection. As for leaving trace in network- sure, but someone would have to have an interest in this first. One of the top-dogs wet workers of Hypercorps ordered a blueprint for powerful gun- well, nothing strange here imo.

And they already been sent for bigger fish, but as I said, they play smart and that party combat monster with 50/40 Armor and Plasma Rifle + 2x Rail AP SMGs and 17 base Initiative and 3 speed pretty much one-shots almost every enemy from X-Risks.

I am not agianst it, it's all legal by the system itself so I don't blame player here. I just think that EP authors made Plasma Rifle little too OP weapon. I could buff enemies, but then rest of the party would probably end up dead.

Lazarus Lazarus's picture
First off, I think you're

First off, I think you're giving your hacker too much credit. Ok, so they hack the fabber and override the safeties that prevent it from fabricating a plasma rifle. It still has a record that it fabricated the plasma rifle and who it fabricated it for. They want to wipe that log as well? That's another hacking attempt. Now it shows it fabricated a stunner. However it also shows that the feedstock it requisitioned no longer matches the blueprint it says it fabricated. They want to change that log as well? Ok. That's another hacking attempt. Of course the distribution center that the feedstock came from still shows the initial requisition and the time of the requisition. They want to change those records that's another hacking attempt and the attempt has to be made on a completely different system. After the requisition request has been altered they still need to alter the fulfillment and routing records, etc.

In a similar vein, you can't just hack 'the local system' so that a plasma rifle appears as a stunner. That's like saying a hacker went in and hacked a camera so that a rifle appears as a nightstick. Cameras (and other sensors) aren't going to be programmed with the capability of altering the image they're viewing. Why would they? That totally defeats the purpose of a sensor. Now your hacker might be able to edit the 'tape' later on so that the plasma rifle shows up as a stunner, but they can't change what the sensor is seeing in real time.

My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
As Lazarus say, you are being

As Lazarus say, you are being too generous with the players regarding the covert fabrication and carrying of the rifle inside habitats. The stuff on the X-zone is OK, though (you just "up the ante" so they have motives to use that weapon).

And carrying stuff under an active chameleon cloak means you are carrying a bundle of what, to the sensors, reads as an "empty space"... and that's not suspicious? XD

And the Exotic materials... well, how do you think energy weapons store energy? Even morphs require exotic materials, but you usually don't need to fight hard to "print" non-combat/not high-end morphs (first because of security, second because the feedstock you used can't be used by anyone else... and it takes time running a big-sized Cornucopia Machine, those are very demanded).

Finally, the police is not stupid. There are also mercenaries, criminals and private eyes. Not only you do risk being spotted by criminals carrying a big weapon (that means cool, that means they will try to take it from you... stealing, confronting, whatever), you risk being spotted by normal people (who might tip the police, which might discover the hacks...), and even so...
You fire a plasma rifle, you leave plasma rifle marks. It doesn't take a very difficult Energy Weapons roll (used as a knowledge, so it goes with COG, with bonuses from research, knowledge of weapons, etc...), and IF they fail the roll they will ask around some experts, so at the best it's a matter of time until the authorities know someone has been fabbing plasma rifles illegally, then carrying them around in secret, then using those.

First consequence: an investigation starts. It might take time, but eventually they WILL find some recording that will point to the ID you used to get into the habitat. That means the whole group has been discovered, burning those identities.

Second consequence: every time any member of the group goes into the habitat, they have to use another identity... and pray to not be discovered because of the Kinesics skills, or that they implants to disguise those kinesis tells are not discovered...

Third consequence: the habitat WILL be more ready to detect and react to the fabbing/carrying of heavy weapons of any kind. The Eye will be so happy you suddenly made it harder for everyone to use big guns there!

Fourth Consequence: the hacker needs to update his hacking suite, the tricks he used have been patched, so he goes with outdated programs at least in that habitat (and it's a matter of time before the patches reach everywhere).

Fifth consequence: the pissed off policemen will share their data with other Habitats, so they are warned that some psychos are hacking fabbers to make restricted weapons that can blow holes in the habitat's walls, thus exposing it to vacuum. I hope they are vacuum-sealed, by the way...

Sixth consequence: the law of contagion means the gangs will be blamed first, several of their ops will be exposed in the look for the fabber of plasma rifles, and those gangs will want revenge. And they have g-rep.

Benny89 wrote:

Also corebook does not mention that Plasma Rifle needs some exotic materials for it. It's powerful, but it's not some super high tech. Simillar to Reaper morph- strongest combat morph, but easy to made as it's just a synthmorph, little more complicated I think only because of Smart Materials and Reflex Booster included.

They are, however, conspicuous and restricted. And anything that has a power pack requires a measure of exotic materials... I don't remember seeing anywhere "this item requires X material", that is GM-fiat. If you just limit what they can do by the book they will run circles around you, because you would need a fool-proof computer program-like rulebook to implement that philosophy. Which would mean having to memorize a book so big it would take days and nobody would want to play, and it would make more sense to play it in a computer.

Benny89 wrote:

He only takes Plasma Rifle to action really if it's a final operation on session and you require "military" action or they know they may encounter some real danger (Exhumans, Titans etc.).

Party plays smart and they use the system mechanic to maximum. Especially hacker knows how to mask party and give them digital protection. As for leaving trace in network- sure, but someone would have to have an interest in this first. One of the top-dogs wet workers of Hypercorps ordered a blueprint for powerful gun- well, nothing strange here imo.

Sure as hell, if a plasma rifle is fired in a habitat where there are supposed to exist none I would be VERY interested. And if the encounter is too easy because of the plasma rifle... well, the Exurgent Virus ADAPTS. So it might be that the exhumans and exurgents are better armed and in greater numbers...
Plus they better have good psychosurgeons, or they will be raving mad quite fast.

Also, if you have TITANs in the game you are doing something wrong, dude. Those are "out of the books" for a reason, their leftover toys are terrifying enough.

Benny89 wrote:

And they already been sent for bigger fish, but as I said, they play smart and that party combat monster with 50/40 Armor and Plasma Rifle + 2x Rail AP SMGs and 17 base Initiative and 3 speed pretty much one-shots almost every enemy from X-Risks.

Then you have to congratulate them! They are on the fast track to become another team of cleaners, who ONLY do "hunt and kill" operations without regard for collateral damage!
I will resume what does it mean: "you don't want to be a cleaner". It's a non-standard game over. Check Firewall's splatbook.

Benny89 wrote:

I am not agianst it, it's all legal by the system itself so I don't blame player here. I just think that EP authors made Plasma Rifle little too OP weapon. I could buff enemies, but then rest of the party would probably end up dead.

Nah, the problem is that he is gaming the system and you are letting him get away with it. There are consequences because of being the only one carrying the big plasma weapon, they start with "priority target" and end with "energy weapons do not work here, TITAN tech is a bitch".

Plus, they are working under the assumption that a) they will always have the morph they want available and geared, and b) they will always have enough time to assemble their weapons before it's shooting time.
Again, ti's up to you to make their lives interesting. A good P&P game is not about shooting things, that's what computer games are for, it's for playing interesting situations.

Also, as a final detail: not all missions involve combat, much less overt combat. Firewall agents are SPIES, and that means most of their missions involve spy stuff; and spies do not like to shoot, because it means something has gone wrong.

Benny89 Benny89's picture
Thanks for tips guys, however

Thanks for tips guys, however it seems on the other hand like you think GM should just do everything he can to spoil fun of players. Like there is always some "ha, but I will do XX and you still won't be able to do this", which not how I like to play. I try to stick to 100% of corebook rules, I bend only if I really have to. However a lot of viable points so I will take that into my notes :).

Lazarus wrote:
First off, I think you're giving your hacker too much credit. Ok, so they hack the fabber and override the safeties that prevent it from fabricating a plasma rifle. It still has a record that it fabricated the plasma rifle and who it fabricated it for. They want to wipe that log as well? That's another hacking attempt. Now it shows it fabricated a stunner. However it also shows that the feedstock it requisitioned no longer matches the blueprint it says it fabricated. They want to change that log as well?
In a similar vein, you can't just hack 'the local system' so that a plasma rifle appears as a stunner. That's like saying a hacker went in and hacked a camera so that a rifle appears as a nightstick. Cameras (and other sensors) aren't going to be programmed with the capability of altering the image they're viewing. Why would they? That totally defeats the purpose of a sensor. Now your hacker might be able to edit the 'tape' later on so that the plasma rifle shows up as a stunner, but they can't change what the sensor is seeing in real time.

That's ok if there would be anyone interested to check and investigate that somewhere one fabber was used (like they are not used hundreds of time per day) and check every single "suspisious thing". As for hacking- in EP you can easly hack anything with 150 infosec roll + Moxies if needed. Game mechanic gives player a possibility to pretty much always be successful in rolls. Also think about nowadays cameras near traffic lights. Police could easly take everyday camera recordings and use that to send tickets to every driver/walking man who crossed on red light etc. Why they don't do it? Because they wouldn't have time for anything else. Sure, if somebody got tip that some big-fish mercenary/killing bot is going to visit habitat there might be more monitoring under that assumption but they also have people shortage as any police/militia ever. Also you can't assume what was build based on feedstock, unless they used something like uranium or other super suspicious thing. And imo Plasma Rifle don't fall under nuclear weapon alert category. Not to mention a lot of things have nuclear battery inside.

As for hacking cameras- I think if you can do it today (make cameras see in real-time different image by place a loop or different recording) you can do it with Virtual Illusions and enough hacking skill. Camera is giving a real-time feed and send it through either through mesh or through some stand-alone server, simillar to how you can use Illusions on hacked cyberbrain you can do simillar thing to building/facility cameras. The image is going somewhere as data, no? If it's data it can be hacked. It's a device- you can make device for example send only a particular image all the time- like loop from the place where it looks like. That's how I see it. Everything is connected to mesh after all and it's only an image so with the technology of EP I think hacking what camera can see currently should not be a problem. I will check corebook if it says anywhere otherwise. As for leaving changed recording from cameras- yeah, that can be done even today.

As for hacking a habitat security system- I think small habitat can be hacked. It needs to have some sort of AI/server/trigger alerts etc. I am sure its not 100% just watched by humans with the tech that EP have, a lot if left to automated systems. Small habitat system can definitely be infiltrated by skilled hacker. Of course there is no way you can crack whole system of bug habitats as it's just too big. But space stations/small habitat - I am sure it can be as I am sure most sensors/doors/air control system are connected and not stand alone.

I agree however with raw sensors that they would be pretty much impossible to hack- Sensors that reacts to a certain "material" or "signal" would be unhackable, or real-time X-Ray sensor which send image to a security guy optical. But you can hack security system that runs them and turn some of them off while system will show it as on.

Xagroth wrote:
As Lazarus say, you are being too generous with the players regarding the covert fabrication and carrying of the rifle inside habitats. The stuff on the X-zone is OK, though (you just "up the ante" so they have motives to use that weapon).

And carrying stuff under an active chameleon cloak means you are carrying a bundle of what, to the sensors, reads as an "empty space"... and that's not suspicious? XD

And the Exotic materials... well, how do you think energy weapons store energy? Even morphs require exotic materials, but you usually don't need to fight hard to "print" non-combat/not high-end morphs (first because of security, second because the feedstock you used can't be used by anyone else... and it takes time running a big-sized Cornucopia Machine, those are very demanded).

Nah, the problem is that he is gaming the system and you are letting him get away with it. There are consequences because of being the only one carrying the big plasma weapon, they start with "priority target" and end with "energy weapons do not work here, TITAN tech is a bitch".

Plus, they are working under the assumption that a) they will always have the morph they want available and geared, and b) they will always have enough time to assemble their weapons before it's shooting time.
Again, ti's up to you to make their lives interesting. A good P&P game is not about shooting things, that's what computer games are for, it's for playing interesting situations.

Also, as a final detail: not all missions involve combat, much less overt combat. Firewall agents are SPIES, and that means most of their missions involve spy stuff; and spies do not like to shoot, because it means something has gone wrong.

Well to be honest, system says you can do such things, so while I try to counter them when it makes sense, I like to see clever ideas and let players spread wings. It's their adventure after all. If I throw something at them and they counter it in way I did not predict- so be it, lets be fair, they beat me in my own game :). Sure, if player would say "I take that big ass Plasma Rifle and walk inside habitat looking for X guy", I would send at least heavy police squad to him for kind request of dropping that Plasma Rifle (unless it's anarchist system, then who cares really) if not some private mercs. But if he infiltrates habitat using his 90 Infiltration in smart way, stays out of public places, hiding smartly and let the rest of the team do "investigation work" while he is "combat backup" then I guess he knows his job, right? Habitats are not impenetrable and mesh and sensors doesn't mean they can't be hacked or avoided and if I have a guy with 90 Infiltration and hacker inside his head with 90 Infosec I can fairly assume they know their job if they roleplay it good- why should I spoil that? They have skill on level that is pretty much in book described as "pinnacle" of what human can achieve- they are better than 98% of transhumanity. I like to let them use it as long as it makes sense and gives them feeling that they are indeed master of their crafts.

"Nah, the problem is that he is gaming the system and you are letting him get away with it" - well if they are playing game by rules- whats wrong with that? I will also try to counter them when I want using game rules. I try to be fair, they stick to rules, so do I. That makes a time to study and learn huge EP mechanic worth imo, instead of "doesn't matter what you have read, I will change it anyway".

And yes, he fired once in habitat with Plasma Rifle when Exhumans attacked them while they were trying to secure TITAN artifact on black market, but they had an escape route prepared (they stole and hacked a ship during mission docked to habitat) so they evacuated after that with artifact. As I said- this is not rambo player, he does not go around and shoot plasma rifle :D.

But you are correct with time to craft it. I will make sure sometimes mission just does not give time to spend hours next to Fabber to craft all gear they want. So I will use that. Though in big habitats he stick to his Rail SMGs or Zap pistols as he knows Plasma Rifle is "the final answer". It's also not stupid to craft Plasma Rifle and just store it in some hideout on habitat and go for it only if thing go ugly (usually they don't).

Most sessions is not combat at all- one, maybe two fights at best if players are exposed or they need to break somwhere with force. Team is well balanced- investigation, interrogation, science, hacking and there one killing machine as combat and tactical support. Great Firewall cell.

"energy weapons do not work here, TITAN tech is a bitch" - where is that in corebook? I know Plasma Rifle has problems in vaccum and needs cooling, but I don't recall something like that.

But discussion went to far in how we play games, while I was just sharing my thoughts about how Plasma Rifle is imbalanced in game :D because it kills faster than missile in face. It came too far in off-topic (my fault too).

Thanks for all tips though!

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
Benny89 wrote:Thanks for tips

Benny89 wrote:
Thanks for tips guys, however it seems on the other hand like you think GM should just do everything he can to spoil fun of players. Like there is always some "ha, but I will do XX and you still won't be able to do this", which not how I like to play. I try to stick to 100% of corebook rules, I bend only if I really have to. However a lot of viable points so I will take that into my notes :).

Nah, the idea is to let them grow in a healthy way, which means making them aware that "bring moar dakka" is never the only answer. Your posts pointed to that direction, so I answered on that assumption.

In other words: I was assuming that either the group were going the "fire at everything" route, or that one of the players was monopolizing the game, so the "ingame solution" was called for. If they just handed roles between them and you make sure all of them have their moment at each game, then it's good enough in that regard.

Benny89 wrote:

That's ok if there would be anyone interested to check and investigate that somewhere one fabber was used (like they are not used hundreds of time per day) and check every single "suspisious thing".

The rulebook falls a little short on this, I'm afraid. If no plasma weapon's proof of existence reaches the ears of sufficiently motivated people (this kind of people is more likely to be on rep-based systems than on credits-based ones) then you are totally right, but if some reason to investigate comes to be (like plasma shots) then the finding of who, when and where is just a matter of time.
Why? First, Panopticon makes quite clear everything gets recorded in 99.9999% of the places (that are not claustrophobic maintenance tubes without any critical systems going through...), and second there is such thing as Big Data, Data Mining, and Business Intelligence solutions... which in EP means there are ginormous databases with all data and specialized programs and/or invested egos (be it indentures that will get a bonus or AGIs whose sole purpose is to shift through data to find the needed stuff) that will find it.

Mind you, the best approach would probably be to assemble their own hacked fabber, then use it to make a big Cornucopia Machine, and get the matter from those same maintenance tubes that are not monitorized by plugging into the stock feed of another, legal and known fabber. The only problem is to get there and install the "seed", afterwards it's quite simple to make a delivery bot for the fabbed goods and minimize exposure.

If they have been too obvious with their fabbing shenanigans, a good idea is for their controller to tell them that Firewall had to step in, and suggest them to look into The Eye archives (firewall's wikipedia) for ideas on how to do that stuff stealthily. Which is to say, they do a research test if time is of the essence (or ask for a favor), or you give them the idea directly after they bother saying that they will look for it, meaning you have opened a way to give them operational clues, since you can "house rule" without much effort that, during a mission, they can make some "retroactive rolls" representing their research during downtime and how applicable it was to the current situation... And justifying a Knowledge: Firewall operational procedures/infiltration operations skills.

Benny89 wrote:

As for hacking- in EP you can easly hack anything with 150 infosec roll + Moxies if needed. Game mechanic gives player a possibility to pretty much always be successful in rolls.

Yes, but... Opposed rolls are another thing entirely. I would suggest you to note down those rolls that might be revised later, since you might want to roll some audit trails afterward (and remember, those audits can take time, do it in groups, etc...) and use it to boot later adventures.

After all, all those things I say for your players to be "paranoid" about? They are not to prevent them from doing stuff... they are to prevent *you* to "spawn" an Oversight group that traces the sloppy Firewall group they can follow to try and made more agents until they capture as many as they can for interrogation... (which might include, but not be limited to, egonapping during a transmission).

Benny89 wrote:

Also think about nowadays cameras near traffic lights. Police could easly take everyday camera recordings and use that to send tickets to every driver/walking man who crossed on red light etc. Why they don't do it? Because they wouldn't have time for anything else.

I disagree. They don't do it because we are not carrying our ID in a visible place when we do. In EP, you *do* carry your ID at all times, specially because there are who people switch bodies like we do shirts nowadays.

And they don't need to fine anyone personally, placing expert programs is quite simple (so you could hack the system and direct the fines to another ID, or make it look like you have them all paid... but it's easier to fool a program than an active sysadmin, so the key here is to not call attention).

Benny89 wrote:

Sure, if somebody got tip that some big-fish mercenary/killing bot is going to visit habitat there might be more monitoring under that assumption but they also have people shortage as any police/militia ever. Also you can't assume what was build based on feedstock, unless they used something like uranium or other super suspicious thing. And imo Plasma Rifle don't fall under nuclear weapon alert category. Not to mention a lot of things have nuclear battery inside.

Nevertheless, restricted/controlled feedstock is restricted/controlled, and most fabbers/Cornucopia Machine have no "pipes" for those, you need to insert them from a feedstock package, as a control measure (and that is if you are printing in a publicly available assembler... if you go to a shop, the clerks will know what they are printing!), and they control it because sure, your plasma cartridges use nuclear batteries, and each cartridge has not enough material to make a nuclear bomb. Craft enough cartridges, however, and you *will* have enough material to craft a nuke, which is the reason why energy weapons are so high-profile. I would suggest to make your players cognizant of this fact out of game, and offer the energy-specialized player the option to rearrange those points if he desires so.

Benny89 wrote:

As for hacking cameras- I think if you can do it today (make cameras see in real-time different image by place a loop or different recording) you can do it with Virtual Illusions and enough hacking skill. Camera is giving a real-time feed and send it through either through mesh or through some stand-alone server, simillar to how you can use Illusions on hacked cyberbrain you can do simillar thing to building/facility cameras. The image is going somewhere as data, no? If it's data it can be hacked. It's a device- you can make device for example send only a particular image all the time- like loop from the place where it looks like. That's how I see it. Everything is connected to mesh after all and it's only an image so with the technology of EP I think hacking what camera can see currently should not be a problem. I will check corebook if it says anywhere otherwise. As for leaving changed recording from cameras- yeah, that can be done even today.

Yeah. There are two ways to "hack" surveillance: a passive and an active one. The passive relies on the cameras being monitorized by programs, and you using something similar to a Basilisk hack (using a pattern of visible matter that makes the program think it's seeing something else), this has been done in real life, and posted some months ago in the net. This means that knowing an exploit or research the expert programs on the habitat will allow you to be invisible to passive surveillance, and I'd say that it would be a Stealth roll with help from the relevant knowledge/research/infosec skill, using COG as a base attribute.

The other way is, as you say, to hack the cameras to loop over themselves and/or get into the habitat's security server to erase/modify the recordings. Which is, in itself, a risky proposition that might turn the whole habitat into full alert, or nearly impossible to do if the habitat is already like that (because there will be more hackers defending the system and tracking the intruder in active mode).

Benny89 wrote:

As for hacking a habitat security system- I think small habitat can be hacked. It needs to have some sort of AI/server/trigger alerts etc. I am sure its not 100% just watched by humans with the tech that EP have, a lot if left to automated systems. Small habitat system can definitely be infiltrated by skilled hacker. Of course there is no way you can crack whole system of bug habitats as it's just too big. But space stations/small habitat - I am sure it can be as I am sure most sensors/doors/air control system are connected and not stand alone.

Get your hands on Panopticon. Some people sleeve into habitats (the bigger the hab, the more people do so), so...

Benny89 wrote:

I agree however with raw sensors that they would be pretty much impossible to hack- Sensors that reacts to a certain "material" or "signal" would be unhackable, or real-time X-Ray sensor which send image to a security guy optical. But you can hack security system that runs them and turn some of them off while system will show it as on.

Yeah, you either "bypass" the cable so the signal never gets send, or you hack the node so the alert never gets issued.

Benny89 wrote:

Well to be honest, system says you can do such things, so while I try to counter them when it makes sense, I like to see clever ideas and let players spread wings.

Yup. It also says you can make your own singularity, blow up habitats, develop nanotec disasters...

The point is not really to cut their wings, but to be sure all of you are on the same page regarding how things go in the campaign. I like for things to be logical, after all, and making noise logically attracts attention (and it's not because the GM wants to punish the players, but because there are people who don't like that Firewall exists, or to have trigger-happy titan hunters outside of their control).

Benny89 wrote:

It's their adventure after all. If I throw something at them and they counter it in way I did not predict- so be it, lets be fair, they beat me in my own game :).

Certainly. And when they leave a trail or can't be careful, or have to be really noisy... then you have the best answer a GM can present to his players: the next adventure is the cleaning of the mess you made! If it's too big of a mess, then they will find ways to be more subtle the next time, thus moving things along.
In other words, having a team of "spies" who suddenly throw plasma around is very conspicuous, and for nobody to take an interest in them begs disbelief... specially since firewall IS more personnel-strapped than any habitat, because they have to cover the whole Transhumanity's space!

Benny89 wrote:

Sure, if player would say "I take that big ass Plasma Rifle and walk inside habitat looking for X guy", I would send at least heavy police squad to him for kind request of dropping that Plasma Rifle (unless it's anarchist system, then who cares really)

Well, having weapons that can make a big hole in your house is a cause for concern. I'm no policeman, but hearing big explosions near my house would really worry me... and I don't have the empty vacuum at the other side of my walls!

Benny89 wrote:

if not some private mercs. But if he infiltrates habitat using his 90 Infiltration in smart way, stays out of public places, hiding smartly and let the rest of the team do "investigation work" while he is "combat backup" then I guess he knows his job, right? Habitats are not impenetrable and mesh and sensors doesn't mean they can't be hacked or avoided and if I have a guy with 90 Infiltration and hacker inside his head with 90 Infosec I can fairly assume they know their job if they roleplay it good- why should I spoil that? They have skill on level that is pretty much in book described as "pinnacle" of what human can achieve- they are better than 98% of transhumanity. I like to let them use it as long as it makes sense and gives them feeling that they are indeed master of their crafts.

Certainly, if that guy just does nothing else but to lie in wait (or even he has a body hidden with those weapons ready to receive his ego, who is riding shotgun in another sleeve or something like that) there is no reason to do anything, but the *occasional* monkeywrench in the cogs if you want to make things more interesting once or twice (some casualty, some random problem that prevents that sleeve to be brought to the front, etc...), the idea is less prevent them from using this tactic and more to make things interesting so "having a heavily armed combat morph ready to drop into the fray" is not TEH TACTIC to solve every adventure that has combat. Because it would be boring ^^.

Benny89 wrote:

"Nah, the problem is that he is gaming the system and you are letting him get away with it" - well if they are playing game by rules- whats wrong with that? I will also try to counter them when I want using game rules. I try to be fair, they stick to rules, so do I. That makes a time to study and learn huge EP mechanic worth imo, instead of "doesn't matter what you have read, I will change it anyway".

There has been a miscommunication here. "Gaming the system" refers to abuse the rules to get a triumph card that solves everything, like a bug in a videogame, in which case you need to apply a patch to prevent that card to be the answer to all related situations, and to avoid forcing all players to do that or become less relevant.

Also, the idea is not to change the rules, but to not let the players act in a vacuum. Sure, you can get a fabrication hive and make a starship you designed in a week of accelerated time using forks, and the game allows you to do so. It doesn't spell for you that not all asteroids have all the required materials, that deploying those nanohives call a lot of attention if discovered, and that energy matters as well.

In other words, the game system tells you what can be done and how to regulate success/failure. It doesn't tell you the consequence for every action the players do, however, and there *must* be a reaction for what they do.

Benny89 wrote:

And yes, he fired once in habitat with Plasma Rifle when Exhumans attacked them while they were trying to secure TITAN artifact on black market, but they had an escape route prepared (they stole and hacked a ship during mission docked to habitat) so they evacuated after that with artifact. As I said- this is not rambo player, he does not go around and shoot plasma rifle :D.

Hey, regardless of their use of plasma rifles, an Exhuman attack raises flags and you can be sure Oversight will be there like the roadrunner. Certainly you can rule that Firewall's hacking division have taken enough countermeasures that nobody else gets info on what happens, but you can make it so Oversight is tracking the players because they found something that Firewall was not able to delete/destroy, and now the players have a persistent Captain Ahab who wants to have a chat (since Firewall's cleaning will certainly call their attention).

Benny89 wrote:

But you are correct with time to craft it. I will make sure sometimes mission just does not give time to spend hours next to Fabber to craft all gear they want. So I will use that. Though in big habitats he stick to his Rail SMGs or Zap pistols as he knows Plasma Rifle is "the final answer". It's also not stupid to craft Plasma Rifle and just store it in some hideout on habitat and go for it only if thing go ugly (usually they don't).

Yeah, time is the last real coin EP has, thus the need to keep an eye of that. As for the storage of stuff, it is explicitly suggested that all Firewall agents have hidden caches of gear, but never one that they will risk to recover if captured by the enemy (and with booby traps, because better blown than used against you). Considering he carries "zap pistols" (I assume some sort of stun gun), I would suggest to carry the plasma ammo disguised/adapted on himself, and leave the rifle hidden (since the real controlled stuff is the ammo, so the enemy won't be able to use it against them if it finds the gun).

Benny89 wrote:

"energy weapons do not work here, TITAN tech is a bitch" - where is that in corebook? I know Plasma Rifle has problems in vaccum and needs cooling, but I don't recall something like that.

Nowhere, but it's a reasonable happenstance. We are talking about technology so strange people suffers sanity damage if they look at Pandora Gates that are not disguised... (yet the book does not mention that if your team is the first one crossing, the gate you arrive to is not disguised, so... sanity roll!), or that the Quarantine Zones have not been reclaimed nor bombarded because people who spend their lives thinking about that stuff have decided that the risk and unknowns are so many it's suicidal to do so... despite the risk of a returning TITANs.

Benny89 Benny89's picture
Xagroth wrote:Benny89 wrote:.

Xagroth wrote:
........

Thanks, many good tips there, I will take notes :). It's hard to GM in EP if you have zero knowledge in physics, math, cimputer sicience, chemistry, astronomy etc. I am political science master and journalism so many things in EP is black magic to me :D

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
Benny89 wrote:Xagroth wrote:.

Benny89 wrote:
Xagroth wrote:
........

Thanks, many good tips there, I will take notes :). It's hard to GM in EP if you have zero knowledge in physics, math, cimputer sicience, chemistry, astronomy etc. I am political science master and journalism so many things in EP is black magic to me :D

Best suggestion I can give you: play to your strengths!

Use what you know to flesh out what happens in the background, specially the after-mission data. I mean, they finished the mission, then went back to whatever they do in between missions (some groups just downtime, others make summaries of what each one of them do, etc...), maybe got debriefed by their proxy (specially if there were exhuman, TITAN, or any intelligence organization involvement) and then, on the next time you sit to play, give them some news of the "consequences" of their actions: shoots fired? A short article on the lack of security some attacks from ideological enemies of that habitat (if it's rimward: "the corporations know better how to protect their employees", if it's sunward: "that's what happens when only a few know about security and even less are armed, you can't protect your home!", in that kind of lines, for example), if they managed to steal something how the authorities are baffled, if they eliminated a group of mercenary mooks, how it a local group/a junior branch of a major mercenary group/some enthusiastic locals have been found dead/dissapeared/stacks popped...

The idea, as always, is to enrich the game with little things that cost you as little effort as possible (because you have a lot of things on your plate already as GM) but give the players a feeling of implication because what they do matters. Something it's an annoying "it matters", sometimes it's a "you did good"; the point is, however, it was their actions.

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
So...busy....

Oof, this exploded whilst I wasn't looking.

Most of the stuff I would have said already has been, but I have couple thoughts which might be useful in any case:

1. It's important to know where the line is beteen "Ruining a Players Game" and "Giving the Player a Challenge", and it varies from player to player.
If taking the player's rifle away would spoil things for them then you shouldn't do it, but you can still make things more complicated/interesting for them by making them jump through more hoops to get it.
On the other hand, saying they can't use it for a scenario could give them an oppertunity to show what else they can do.

2. X-Risks is a good book, but the enemies it contains are NOT balanced against combat specialists. I don't know if it's intentional or not, but imo these are exactly the things plasma rifles are designed to kill.
If you want to put a significant combat challenge in your game, need to either throw a horde of enemies at the group, or create a semi-unique 'Boss'.

The former works because even with speed you can only hit a certain number of targets per Speed (incedentally something the Plasma Rifle is bad at), and the individual enemies don't have to be very tough to be a threat which keeps the other PCs engaged.
Bosses mean you create custom rules, but for really advanced or exotic stuff this is exactly what you should be doing anyway.

Whatever you do, don't just throw things with huge Durability and DV at the group - it's not particularly engaging and you risk the combat pc being the only one capable of contributiong to the encounter whilst the other players watch and be Bored.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:

Bosses mean you create custom rules, but for really advanced or exotic stuff this is exactly what you should be doing anyway.

Whatever you do, don't just throw things with huge Durability and DV at the group - it's not particularly engaging and you risk the combat pc being the only one capable of contributiong to the encounter whilst the other players watch and be Bored.

Be really really careful with custom rules for "bosses", and make sure you have some clues of its existence and ways to deal with it (not "where are each clue", but a list of clues and make sure, as in they will always find those when you decide), and there are more than three ways to solve the encounter aside from "pour more firepower" and "rocks fall, everything in there dies" (aka reactor explosion), since the players failing means an escalation that not always will involve the players, and that tends to leave a sour taste, even if the characters were all killed without recovering chance (so no XP, possibly no rep, no nothing) and know nothing the players know. This can be good sometimes, but is an "external-game" narrative device I know no one able or willing to pull it off.

And keep records of the players, and run simulations with those enemies. Remember, it's no problem to kill PC's as long as the others can recover the stacks, but when exurgents are involved there is risk of infection for the stack.